Students with the Justice Institute of B.C. perform a mock sniper shooting scenario during the official opening of a new facility at the institute's Chilliwack campus on Tuesday.

New JIBC facility opens in Chilliwack

JIBC training a tool kit for emergency responders in the civilian world or in combat.

Quickly, efficiently, the team of B.C. Justice Institute-trained paramedics stabilize the soldier with a gaping chest wound and lift him onto a stretcher.

It’s a “sniper shot” scenario, but the medical training military “med-techs” take at JIBC can be applied anywhere in the civilian world.

“It was a call that could happen anywhere in Chilliwack or Vancouver or across the world in Afghanistan,” Michelle Finlay, JIBC program director, said after the Tuesday demonstration.

“The med-techs that attended the call were trained here in Chilliwack,” she said. “That training is transferrable to anywhere in this province.”

The demonstration followed the official opening of JIBC’s permanent location at the Canada Education Park in Chilliwack.

The 19 modular units that make up the new facility will be “the launch point” for “more and more programs in the Fraser Valley,” JIBC President Jack McGee said.

The JIBC, with campuses in New Westminster and Maple Ridge, is already regarded as the “primary emergency response trainer” in B.C. for police officers, firefighters, search and rescue technicians, court sheriffs, mediators, aboriginal leaders and more.

The institute was one of the original partners in the creation of the education park, signing an MOU with the City of Chilliwack and the University of the Fraser Valley back in 2003.

The CEP now includes the RCMP’s Pacific Region Training Centre and the Canada Border Services Agency, along with the new UFV campus and the new JIBC facility.

McGee said the education park, intended to fill the gap left in the local economy when CFB Chilliwack closed, was the result of the vision of then-mayor Chilliwack MLA John Les and CEPCO president John Jansen.

Former mayor Clint Hames also carried the vision forward.

“He was equally passionate about this location,” McGee said.

Current Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the training offered by all the partners now located at the education park is important to the administration of justice in B.C. as well as the city’s economy “and will stand us in good stead for generations to come.”

Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto said the new facility allows the JIBC “to continue its world-class training.”

“The men and women who choose careers as emergency responders are often called upon to place themselves at risk to protect the safety of others,” she said. “We owe them a debt of gratitude and the best training possible.”

The minister said the JIBC is “an excellent example of the quality of our provincial education system.”

The B.C. government provided $590,000 for JIBC’s new Chilliwack facility, and increased the institute’s annual operational funding to $10.6 million this year. About 30,000 students are trained each year at JIBC campuses.

Master Corporal Matthew Hobart said there is a “natural bond” between the JIBC and Canada’s armed forces.

Military recruits often choose paramedic training with an eye to similar careers when they return to civilian life, he said.

In combat or at home, he said, “we will make a difference.”